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Amazing Ecuador: The Andes and the Galápagos

Program Number: 21548RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/15/2014 - 12/27/2014;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Galapagos, Ecuador
Price starting at: $4,840.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 34; 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Explore two wonderful worlds as you journey high into the Andes — then from island to island in the Galápagos. Meet indigenous people that have called the highlands home for centuries, visit a flower-growing hacienda and discover the grand colonial center of Quito. Then fly over 575 miles of Pacific Ocean to the volcanic archipelago Charles Darwin called “a little world within itself.” A seven-night small ship voyage gives you plenty of opportunities for up-close encounters with iguanas, tortoises, sea lions, turtles, Galápagos Penguins and more.

Activity Particulars

Quito, Ecuador has an elevation between 9,350 ft and 9,500 ft. Some participants find it helpful to fly into the city a day early in order to have extra time to rest and acclimate to the altitude. It also gives participants an extra day to catch-up to the program if there are unexpected travel delays—especially during busy travel seasons and times of year when bad weather is expected.

Wet and dry landings involve transferring in potentially rough waters from the yacht into a zodiac and stepping into either knee-deep water or onto rocky shores. Daily walks on sharp volcanic rocks and loose stones add another level of difficulty. Please view the Galápagos video "Galapagos Fitness Information - What to Expect" in preparation for your program activities:

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Quito, 2 nights; Otavalo, 2 nights; aboard Tip Top III, 7 nights; Quito, 1 night.

Days 1-2: Arrival Quito (Ecuador):

Situated high in the Andes, Quito boasts what UNESCO calls “the best-preserved, least altered historic center in Latin America.” Discover the city’s colonial heart on a walking excursion and step inside some of its most beautiful buildings. Lodging: Stylish Art Deco hotel with spectacular views.

Days 3-4: Coach to Otavalo:

Continue to Imbabura, a province of dramatic highland lakes. At a private hacienda learn about Ecuador’s flower-growing industry. In Otavalo, meet some of the indigenous local people, who are famed for their fine textiles. Take a mountain train to the town of Salinas to meet members of its Afro-Ecuadorian community. Lodging: historic hacienda converted into a comfortable hotel.

Day 5: Flight to Baltra Island / embark Tip Top III / Santa Cruz Island:

Fly to the Galápagos and embark the motor yacht, your home for the next seven nights. Sail to Santa Cruz to search for flamingos, sea turtles and migratory birds.

Days 6-11: Bartolomé, Fernandina, Genovesa, Isabela and Santiago Islands:

The ship will follow an itinerary set by the Galápagos National Park Service that allows for maximum wildlife viewing while protecting this treasured environment. Learn about the creatures that live among Santiago’s lava flows. Meet the endearing Galápagos Penguin on Bartolomé. Walk up Prince Philip’s Steps through colonies of frigatebirds and Red-billed Tropicbirds. See marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks. Scan steep sea cliffs for Flightless Cormorants, Masked Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies. And experience many other natural wonders of this magic archipelago.

Days 12-13: Baltra / disembark / flight to Quito / departure:

Lodging: Comfortable hotel in a village near the airport.

Tip Top III

The Tip Top III is specially designed and built to accommodate 16 guests in comfortable cabins. With 100 feet of length, 22 feet of beam and a 5 feet Draft, the Tip Top III is a very comfortable, well known yacht in the Galapagos Islands. Public areas are linked by stairs including a large sun deck.


In a delicate balance, man, animal, and plant cohabitate Ecuador’s mountains, rainforests, and shores. Among such a range of wildlife and fauna, Charles Darwin was inspired to spark his revolutionary theory of evolution in 1859 in the country’s Galapagos Islands. Coupled with its natural beauty, Ecuador’s animated culture can be seen in its varied dishes and the excitement of soccer fans rooting for El Nacional.

Meals and Lodgings
   El Monasterio de Cusin
  Otavalo, Ecuador 2 nights
   Tip Top III
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 6 nights
   Hotel Rincon de Puembo
  Quito, Ecuador 1 night
 El Monasterio de Cusin
Type: Hotel
  Description: This charming hotel is housed in a restored 17th century Andean estate. The equatorial line and snowcapped Cayambe Mountains are only 30 minutes away. Winding cobblestone pathways, fountain courtyards, and perennial gardens offer inviting spaces where guests can relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air.
  Contact info: P.O. Box # 123
Otavalo - Imbabura
San Pablo del Lago, Imbabura,   Ecuador
phone: +593-6-2918013/17
  Room amenities: Rooms have wood-beamed ceilings and log burning Kiva fireplaces, and are decorated with Andean crafts. Private bathrooms have thick cotton towels and hairdryers. Hot water bottles on request.
  Facility amenities: Horseback riding, stables with arena, mountain biking, an internet cafe, basketball, squash and volleyball courts, a game room for pool, table-tennis and darts, and two television viewing rooms with an extensive and highly selective video library. 24 hour laundry service is available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. 

 Tip Top III
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, Reverse Osmosis Water Maker, coastguard required safety equipment and twelve knot cruising speed.
  Ship Information: The Tip Top III is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2001. Technical Information: *Length: 104 feet *Beam: 22 feet *Draft: 5 feet *Cruising Speed: 11 knots. *Electricity: 110/125 V AC (standard US-style outlets)
  Contact info: 00000000000000
Galapagos Islands,   Ecuador
phone: +00000000000000
  Room amenities: All cabins have private bathrooms, porthole or window, a safety deposit box, and a/c. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise. Smoking is only allowed on the outer decks.
  Facility amenities: The Tip Top III accommodates up to 16 guests in 10 cabins, each with private bathroom. The Upper Deck features four cabins with one double lower berth and one single lower berth. The cabins, bar, dining room and lounge are fully carpeted. A beautiful teak floored sun deck creates a delightful place for resting and relaxing on board. All decks are connected by staircases. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Wetsuit prices range from $35-$70 depending on the length of your cruise and full payment, in cash, is due upon boarding the vessel. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Rincon de Puembo
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located conveniently near the Quito airport in the beautiful village of Puembo.
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano N66 y Francisoc Ruiz
Puembo,  00000 Ecuador
phone: +593-22391106
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, wi-fi, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Las Cúpulas Restaurant
, El Grill Bar and Restaurant, large gardens, heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym
, business center, soccer, basketball, and volleyball courts. Billiards, table football, karaoke room, TV and reading room, laundry service, cable television, 24 wi-fi.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and prices.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All day arrivals at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at El Monasterio de Cusin that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel Rincon de Puembo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required from travelers arriving from an endemic area and those traveling to the Amazon region of Ecuador. For more information about entry requirements, please contact the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C. at (202) 234-7166 or visit
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Quito
  Nearest city or town:  Quito
  Nearest airport:  International Airport in Quito
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the airport. If transferring to/from the airport by taxi, please be sure to use official licensed taxis. This includes checking to make sure that the cab is in good physical condition, and that it has orange license plates as well as an orange placard on the driver's-side doors and windshield with the registration number. Taxis are available outside the arrivals hall at the Quito International Airport and are payable in dollars (Ecuador's currency is the U.S. dollar).
  From End of Program
  Location: Quito
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for the transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please ask the front desk for assistance.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Quito is at an elevation of approximately 9,400 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Quito.
(Monday, December 15)

Note: The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.

 Arrive To: Arrive at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day.

Day 2: Quito –
City Excursion to Colonial Quito.

(Tuesday, December 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program. Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Before the Spanish arrived, the hill known as El Panecillo (small bread roll) was used by the Inca for sun worshiping. In the early 1800s, the Spanish military took advantage of El Panecillo's strategic location and elevation (9,843 ft), and built a fortress to protect and monitor the city. In present times, the hill is the site of a city monument and lookout point where visitors can get 360° views of Quito. On clear days, it is even possible to spot Cotopaxi's snowy peak in the distance.

Enjoy a walking exploration of Quito's colonial center. Visit the Independence Square with an informative explanation of the Presidential and Bishop Palace, as well as the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía church, one of the most beautiful churches in Quito, legendary for its gold covered interior. Visit the historic San Francisco church and convent, raised up above a wide stone paved court originally known as “Tiangues,” a place used by the indigenous inhabitants of Quito to trade products.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products.
 Afternoon: After lunch, return to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon to relax.

Lecture: Ecuador; Ten Thousand years of History by Diego Quiroga PHD. A review of the most important events in Ecuador's history and its influence in today's' political and social situation.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Otavalo -
Exploring Ecuador's Highlands
Discover the Otavalo Indigenous Culture.

(Wednesday, December 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hacienda.
 Morning: This morning we make our way to the province of Imbabura, also known as the Lakes Province, due to its numerous aquatic formations.

Depart early in the morning to visit a private hacienda dating back from the republican times for a country style breakfast. Here you will receive an introduction to one of the major economic activities in Ecuador, the floral industry. Learn about Ecuadorian roses, known worldwide for their beauty and fine quality.

Continue to the town of Otavalo to meet the Kichua-Otavalos, an indigenous group known for their fine textiles and tapestries.
 Lunch: Lunch with local family.
 Afternoon: After lunch return to the hotel for free time to relax.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: El Monasterio de Cusin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Otavalo -
Train ride through Andean landscapes and sugarcane plantations
Meet Afro Ecuadorian community.

(Thursday, December 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast a the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we board a locomotive taking us through the natural landscapes formed by mountains and sugarcane plantations.

Arrive to the town of Salinas to meet the Afro-Ecuadorian community. Learn about the history of their ancestors who were brought as slaves during the colonial period and their struggles and liberation.
 Lunch: Have lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit a local handicraft project with an inspiring story of success and over coming adversity.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: El Monasterio de Cusin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos -
Flight to Galapagos.
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station & Puerto Ayora)

(Friday, December 19)

Note: There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport.
Flight to Baltra Island, Galápagos (44 lb weight limit for checked luggage, please pack accordingly).

**Note: The Galápagos airline tickets are issued in Ecuador and held by the group leader for safekeeping. The airline tickets will be distributed to participants on-site.**
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island.

Baltra Island hosts one of the two available airports in the Galapagos Islands. The other airport is located on San Cristobal Island.

Transfer to pier to board yacht.
Welcome orientation and light snack.

Field trip to Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about conservation efforts throughout the archipelago. Site Lecture: "The Charles Darwin Research Station: Research & Conservation Efforts"

The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The objective of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation. The Station has a team of over a hundred scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. At the CDRS you will be able to observe giant tortoises at all stages of growth, from a few days to close to one hundred years old.

After visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station, enjoy a walk through the town of Puerto Ayora.

Optional swimming and snorkeling. The yacht also has 2 kayaks that may be utilized during this time which are on a first come, first serve basis.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard and welcome cocktail with the crew.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos -
Santa Fé and S. Plaza Islands

(Saturday, December 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip: Wet landing on Santa Fé Island.

Field trip to cactus forest (to view some of the tallest opuntia cacti in the islands) and a colony of Santa Fé land iguanas with a site lecture. Santa Fé Island is home to some of the tallest stands of opuntia cacti in the Galapagos. Some have been reported to grow as high as 33 feet. A trail into the highlands of Santa Fe Island leads visitors to the only place in the Galapagos where the illusive Santa Fe land iguana can be found.

Site Lecture: "Evolution on the Galapagos Islands"
Santa Fé Island offers good opportunities for visitors to swim with sea lions. It is also known as a great place to spot Galápagos White-tipped Sharks and sea turtles.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Walking field trip to explore local flora and fauna. A dry landing on Plaza Sur Island (South Plaza Island) will lead us to a cactus forest where we will take a close look at land iguanas and their habitat before continuing our hike in search for local sea lion colonies.

This small island is known as a great place to watch seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff top provides perfect views of Red-billed Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed gulls, and others.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos -
Chinese Hat and Rabida Island

(Sunday, December 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Morning field trip to Chinese Hat, a small island off the southeast tip of Santiago.
The landscape on Chinese Hat Island is dominated by volcanic rubble, including sharp outcroppings, cracked lava formations and very fragile lava tubes which break when you step on them (staying on trails is especially important on this island). The island is home to sea lions and sally lightfoot crabs.

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Rabida Island.
Field trip: The volcano-formed beach is dark red and frequented by sea lions. It’s considered the geographic center of Galapagos because it has the most diverse volcanic rocks on the Islands.

The island also offers perhaps the only opportunity to see pelicans nesting up close. It is additionally home to one of the best lagoons for viewing flamingoes. Hike to a salt water lagoon, where flamingos can sometimes be found. July through September is a good time to observe brown pelicans nesting in the salty bushes. Boobies and 9 species of Darwin’s finches can also be observed.

Time at leisure for optional swimming, snorkeling or kayaking.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos -
Santa Cruz Island (Black Turtle Cove & Dragon Hill)

(Monday, December 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip to Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island.

Take part on a dinghy ride though the mangroves. The motor will be turned off to allow close observation of marine turtles, white tipped reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, and yellow rays.

Site Lecture: "Marine species of the Galápagos Islands".

Optional swimming and snorkeling and sea kayaking

. Return to the yatch
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Dragon Hill.

Walk to a saltwater lagoon which is occasionally visited by pink flamingos. Hike up to Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay. This area is a nesting site for numerous reintroduced land iguanas. There is also a peculiar scalesia tree forest.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Later in the afternoon visit the Minas de Sal (Salt Mines) located northwest of Santiago Island.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day’s activities.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos -
Floreana Island (Post Office Bay, Devil's Crown & Punta Cormorant)

(Tuesday, December 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Excursion to Post Office Bay.

Post Office Bay, located on the northern side of Floreana, received its name after Captain James Colnett installed an empty barrel which served as an informal post box. Sailors would commonly pick up and drop off mail. Whenever sailors found mail addressed to a destination on their ship's route, they would take it along with them.
Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped letters and postcards inside the barrel. Although mail can sometimes take many weeks or months to arrive at its final destination--most visitors would agree that the delays are well worth the fun experiment.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Snorkel or swim at Devil’s Crown.

Devil’s Crown is a shallow sunken crater that makes for one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos. It offers visitors the chance to play in the water with sea lions and also see a wide variety of colorful fish in the clear blue water. One must be a good swimmer as currents can be very strong.
The eroded volcanic cone is also a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans, frigates, and tropicbirds.

Later in the afternoon make a wet landing on a greenish colored beach of Floreana Island.

Field trip: Hike from black mangrove beds to a lagoon. This large, brackish lagoon holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galápagos. Floreana Island is best known for its endemic plant life like the Galapagos millwork, passion flower, and button mangrove.

Floreana Island (also called Santa Maria or Charles) is the sixth largest island in the archipelago. It has an interesting history starting with the first resident who, according to local stories, was marooned on the island in the early 1800’s and survived by growing vegetables and trading with passing ships. For a while it became a penal colony and in later years, in the 1930’s, it was inhabited by German settlers.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Galapagos -
Española Island (Punta Suarez, Gardner Bay & Gardner Island).

(Wednesday, December 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Disembark at Punta Suarez.
Punta Suarez, on the western side of Española Island, is home to the Galapagos Hawk and is also the best place to see the red form of the Marine Iguana. Gardner Bay, on the other side of the island, is often called the most beautiful part of the Galapagos Islands; when the waves roll into the bay, a flume shoots water 150 feet into the air.
Walk over lava beds to observe marine birds with site lecture.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Afternoon excursion to Gardner Bay for a beach walk followed by a panga ride around Gardner and Tortuga islets.

Española Island is the southernmost island in the Galapagos. It is best known as the nesting place of the rare Waved Albatross. In fact most of the world’s population of these majestic birds nest here. Sea lions abound on Española Island.

Optional swimming and snorkeling at Islote Osborn.
Late afternoon visit to Gardener Island.
The tortoise population of this island was reduced by human depredation. In 1965 only 12 females and 2 males were found and were transferred to the pens of the Galapaguera on Santa Cruz Island. By the year 1976, in collaboration with the San Diego Zoo a third male was brought. After monitoring several adults were found and by 1991 first tortoises born in the wild were placed. Tortoises are concentrated near Manzanillo Bay on the upper part of the island.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Galapagos -
San Cristobal Island (Interpretation Center, Leon Dormido, & Cerro Brujo).

(Thursday, December 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on San Cristobal.

San Cristóbal Island, also known as Chatham Island, is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago and the first island visited by Darwin during his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle in 1835. It is also the easternmost and the fifth largest island in the Galápagos, covering an area of 558 square kilometers. Punta Pitt is the easternmost point in the Galapagos Islands where we will see all three boobies, red footed, blue footed and Nazca, due to the abundance of food and little competition for nesting. Nazca boobies nest on the cliffs, red footed in the trees and blue footed boobies on the ground. In the dry season a spectacular red to purple carpet is formed by the succulent sesuvium.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a visit to León Dormido, a small island off the coast of San Cristobal, for optional swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.

Later in the afternoon prepare for a wet landing at Cerro Brujo, a great place for watching lake and coastal birds. Cerro Brujo offers excellent views of Kicker Rock (aka Leon Dormido), the southern part of Upper San Cristobal and the coast adjacent to Cerro Brujo.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Galapagos -
Santa Cruz Island.
Flight to Quito.

(Friday, December 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Morning instruction for the return to Quito. Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island to catch a flight to Quito.
 Lunch: Light lunch served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Depending on the international carrier used, participants will either check-out of the hotel and transfer to the international airport for a late night/early morning flight or spend the night at the hotel and depart early the next morning.

Participants who depart on the evening of Day 10 will not miss any program activities.
Accommodations: Hotel Rincon de Puembo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Depart from Quito.
Arrive to the USA.

(Saturday, December 27)
 Depart From: Transfer to Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport for flight to the U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
 Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Galapagos, A Natural History Guide

Author: Michael Jacks

Description: This comprehensive overview of the habitats, plants, birds, and animals of the islands, written with the curious visitor in mind, is practically mandatory reading. It's the single best overview of the archipelago. Jackson also includes a useful bibliography, wildlife checklists and a list of plants by vegetation zone. Illustrated with many charts and maps, we refer to the book often.

Galapagos, World's End

Author: William Beebe

Description: A wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition, including an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos by Ruth Rose. A contemporary reviewer wrote, "Galapagos is a glorious book. It is high romance, exact science and wild adventure." Originally published in 1924, it includes several color plates and maps.

Insight Pocket Guide Ecuador and Galapagos

Author: Peter Frost

Description: Written and photographed by South America expert Peter Frost, this handy pocket guide features a pullout map of Ecuador, hundreds of color photographs and suggested itineraries.

Voyage of the Beagle

Author: Charles Darwin

Description: The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, this book is still essential reading. Darwin's South American chapters are an excellent introduction to the Galapagos, Beagle Channel, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Chilean fjords and the Brazilian coast. With maps and appendices.

Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide

Author: Bradt Travel Guides

Description: FIELD GUIDE: A compact guide to the birds, reptiles, insects, plants and marine life of the archipelago featuring a very good selection of large color photographs. Separate chapters cover visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats. The authors present key information on the flora, fauna and places in Galapagos for the traveler.

Evolution's Workshop, God and Science on the Galapagos Islands

Author: Edward J. Larson

Description: A vivid history of the Galapagos -- and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas. It covers not just Darwin but the discovery of the islands, visits of Hancock and Beebe, influence of the United States during WWII, and the establishment of the national park. Pulitzer Prize-winning Larson, a historian of science, has also written about the Scopes trial (Summer for the Gods) and the creationist controversy in the United States (Trial and Error).

Galapagos Islands Explorer Map

Author: Ocean Explorer Maps

Description: A detailed map of the Galapagos archipelago for the traveler at a scale of 1:400,000, including illustrated biographies of famous visitors, a brief wildlife guide with color photographs, a map of Darwin's route.

The Panama Hat Trail

Author: Tom Miller & Tony Hillerman

Description: An accurate and wonderfully descriptive picture of Ecuador and its people. The author tells the story of the Panama hat and the lives it touches; from growing the straw, processing it, and weaving it, to the final product that is exported worldwide.

Charles Darwin Slept Here

Author: John Woram

Description: John Woram recounts with verve and humor the human history of the archipelago, featuring a colorful cast of buccaneers, scientists and adventurers. With ar-chival drawings, maps and extensive notes.

Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes

Author: John Hickman

Description: John Hickman weaves original accounts by Galapagos whalers, gentleman pirates, fitful castaways, settlers and scientists, including Ambrose Crowley Herman Melville, Charles Darwin and William Beebe, in this these tales of the color-ful human history of the archipelago.

The Boy on the Back of the Turtle

Author: Paul Quarrington

Description: Humorist, novelist and family man on a quest, Quarrington offers an entertain-ing account of a Galapagos voyage in the company of his seven-year-old daugh-ter and seventy-year-old father.

Galapagos, A Novel

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Description: In this madcap novel, a classic, Vonnegut looks back from the future (alas, the human race has been wiped out except for a small group stranded in the Ga-lapagos) on the Nature Cruise of the Century.

Galapagos, Preserving Darwin's Legacy

Author: Tui De Roy

Description: Tui de Roy corralled researchers and friends for this stunning survey of the natural history, ecology and conservation of the Galapagos. With 450 breath-taking color photographs and chapters by Jack Grove (fishes), Peter and Rose-mary Grant (finches), Dennis Geist (geology) and many other scientists.

Galapagos, Exploring Darwin's Tapestry

Author: John Hess

Description: Professor Hess pulls off the rare trick of being both scientifically accurate and inviting in this illustrated coffee-table primer on Galapagos, its geol-ogy, evolution and magnificent wildlife.

Reef Identification, Galapagos

Author: Paul Humann

Description: Sturdy enough to take along on a boat, this comprehensive photographic guide includes a map, checklist and brief overview of the archipelago.

Flowering Plants of the Galapagos

Author: Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance

Description: Indispensable for the botanically minded, this excellent guide features color photographs of 436 species, an overview of ecology and habitats, and a plant checklist for each visitor site.

Galapagos Wildlife

Author: Pocket Naturalist

Description: This fold-up, laminated card includes color drawings and short descriptions.

Galapagos, Discovery on Darwin's Islands

Author: David Steadman

Description: All the birds, mammals, reptiles and other vertebrates of the Galapagos are beautifully illustrated in this insightful overview of natural history and evolution by a researcher who has worked throughout the islands. Steadman's brother Lee provides the full-color, full-page water color illustrations.

Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Author: Andy Swash, Robert Stills

Description: This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photo-graphs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.

The Beak of the Finch

Author: Jonathan Weiner

Description: This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is an accessible look at the modern debate on the mode and rhythm of evolution, using the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant and their field work on Daphne Major as an example.

Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World

Author: Paul D. Stewart

Description: This stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before

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